Love, betrayal, tragedy. Had Shakespeare lived in the Pacific Northwest, he might have added another theme: Burgerville milkshakes. Four centuries after the fact, Creature in Seattle is Burgerville-izing the Bard for the Vancouver, Wash.-based restaurant chain. This past weekend and next, the independent agency is producing "Shakes in the Park," an outdoor theater series in Portland, Ore., in which Burgerville's signature huckleberry milkshake will serve as protagonist (and complimentary snack) in 20-minute adaptations of As You Like It and other classics.
"It's the basic Shakespeare template, with 'thees' and 'thous' and 'methinks that shake is looking good,'" says group account director Nick Hunt. "Boy meets girl, it's love at first sight, the boy is flung into exile, they reunite … as things happen, the shake becomes an integral part of the story."
The free, family-friendly performances, to be held in Portland-area parks, will feature poofy-pants-clad actors from Shakesprov, an offshoot of Portland's ComedySportz improv troupe. The events are being promoted with more than 1,000 ye olde wild postings, ads in Willamette Week and e-mail blasts. An added bonus: At each show, "serving wenches" will hand out milkshakes churned on-site.
Though it be madness, there's method in it. It projects a fun, community-centric image, says Hunt, and is "a great way [of] putting shakes in people's hands."